When it comes to money, have no doubt that there is nothing private about it. Every time we swipe our cards the data is collected and shared between multiple banks, merchant services companies, analytics firms, advertisers, etc. This is not to mention that banks use automated software to make sure that they comply with Anti Money Laundering and Bank Secrecy Act laws. These laws compel the bank and any employees we interact with to monitor (spy on) customers for suspicious activity.
So when I talk about privacy and money, we have to get extremely granular. For the last few years I've avoided using personal finance apps because the data is stored in the cloud, and Intuit which makes Mint, Quicken, Quickbooks, and Simplifi use the data they collect to sell credit cards, and who knows what else.
That being said, I have missed the view of my money that Mint provided. I've been on the hunt for a new solution for the last few years and getting by with the in app data provided by the financial services companies I use.
Beyond privacy, another concern I have is with flexibility. With apps like Mint, I found that I'm extremely limited in what I can do with my data. It's hard to find one app that does it all. I want to monitor retirement, savings, and investment accounts, analyze spending habits, run projections about future expenditures, and track various budgets.
Finally, I like to future-proof things as much as possible. I don't want my data locked into a silo, prevented from transferring my information to a new service. These tools are time consuming to learn and set up. Businesses get bought, go out of business, change their privacy policies and pricing structures.
So up until a few months ago, it looked like my only option was to use a spreadsheet and manually enter every transaction. No thanks... I got other things to do!
Today I stumbled across Tiller. Tiller scrapes my bank accounts and copies all the transactions right into an excel spreadsheet that sits right on my desktop. They don't sell my data, if they go out of business I can keep manually adding my transaction, or export it to a CSV and import it to a new tool. Spreadsheets are flexible and the Tiller community has built a bunch of custom sheets, or I can write my own.
I'm still learning the ins and outs of using Tiller but so far It's looking like the best compromise for a guy like me.